The Pack is Back: Superbowl Wrap-Up

The Pack is Back: Superbowl Wrap-Up

Tyler Jamieson, General Editor (11)

Two of the most recognized teams in the NFL battled for the ultimate goal, the Super Bowl. The Steelers are well known for having the most Super Bowl wins by any franchise with six. The Packers were the winners of the first two Super Bowls and the Lombardi Trophy is named after the Packers famed Head Coach Vince Lombardi. While the Green Bay Packers were favored by two and a half points by industry analysts, many fans believed the Pittsburgh Steelers were their favorite due to their experience in the big game. After all, their roster held a total of twenty-five former Super Bowl winners. Both teams were dealing with injuries; however, the number of Packer injuries far out-weighed the Steelers. The Steelers were missing their rookie center who was out with a high ankle sprain. He had started all eighteen games during their journey to the Super Bowl. The Packers made it through a majority of the season without their starting running back, Ryan Grant and multi-talented tight-end Jermichael Finley. Some argued that the Steelers had more to worry about considering the fact that the Packers had made it to the Super Bowl without these players and the Steelers have to deal with it only now.

The first quarter opened with a bang as the Steelers returned the opening kickoff to around their thirty-five yard line. Unfortunately, they went three and out which can be a real momentum swing that early in the game. The game was basically a punter’s duel for the first few drives as both teams struggled to move the ball. The Packers were the first team to put points up on the enormous Dallas scoreboard thanks to a twenty-nine yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson. A mere twenty-four seconds after this, momentum boost the Packers defense to score a touchdown of their own. Nick Collins returned an interception for thirty-seven yards for the touchdown. The turnover was caused by the pressure on Big Ben Roethlisberger provided by Packers back-up, Nose Tackle Howard Green. This gave the Packers a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Packers were looking to extend their lead in the second quarter, however in the process they lost two key players, wide receiver Donald Driver and perhaps more importantly their head captain and last years NFL defensive MVP corner back, Charles Woodson. Fortunately for Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers maintained composure and tossed a twenty-one yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Greg Jennings. The Steelers fired back with an eight yard touchdown completion from Ben Roethlisberger to Heinz Ward with only thirty-nine seconds left in the half that provided them with a much needed confidence boost going into halftime. The Packers held their lead at the end of the half 21-10.

I would have given anything to be a fly on the wall in the Steelers locker room at half time because Mike Tomlin must have given an amazing motivational speech as the Steelers came out firing on both sides of the ball in the third quarter. After their defense forced a three and out the offense started their drive with great field position at midfield. The Steelers used five straight running plays by three different players to drive the ball fifty yards for six points. Rashard Mendenhall capped off the drive with an 8 yard rush up the gut for the touchdown. However, this proved to be a limited time offer for the Steelers offense because they could not move the ball for the rest of the quarter. Luckily for them, their defense kept them in by shutting out the Packers for the entire quarter.

The Steelers were starting to give the Packers a run for their money but the Packers were not ready to roll over. Pittsburgh was driving and poised to take the lead but Clay Matthews was ready to engrave his name into Super Bowl history. As Rashard Mendenhall took Big Ben’s handoff and charged the up the middle, Matthews flew around the right side of the line and pummeled Mendenhall, jarring the ball free. Steelers fans watched in shock as flashbacks to the Jerome Bettis fumble in the 2006 AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts. This play proved to be a key turning point in the game because Packers converted the turnover into points once again. Aaron Rodgers threw his third touchdown of the game to Greg Jennings for his second touchdown reception. This score put the Pack Attack up 28-17 with roughly twelve minutes left in the 2010-2011 season. The Steelers began the ensuing drive at their own thiry-four yard-line. The trick here was to score while still leaving enough time to get the ball back and score again. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; first they would have to turn this drive into points. Pittsburgh was facing their first third down of the drive and instead of just trying to pick up the three yards they needed, they went for it all. This gamble paid off thanks to a beautiful ball thrown by Roethlisberger to one of the fastest players in the game, wide receiver Mike Wallace, on a fade route down the left sideline resulting in a touchdown. In order to pull within three points, the Steelers decided to go for the two-point conversion. As they lined up in shotgun formation, wide receiver Antwaan Randle El came in motion from the right side and the ball was snapped. Roethlisberger faked the hand-off to Mendenhall and sprinted to the left side of the field with Randle El at his side ready for the pitch, if Ben felt the need which he did. After one missed tackle, Randle El simply walked in for the two points. Now only a field goal was needed for the Steelers to tie the game. After the Packers methodically moved the ball into the red zone while taking as much time off the clock as they could, the Steelers came up with a huge Goal Line stand and forced Green Bay to kick a field goal which left the Steelers offense with a chance to win the game by scoring a touchdown. However, there was one problem: they would have to go eighty-seven yards in two minutes, the ultimate two minute drill. Ben’s first pass was completed for fifteen yards and a first down. The offense hurried to the line and moved the ball another five yards. After two consecutive incompletions and obvious confusion amongst the Steelers wide receivers, the Steelers were faced with a fourth down and five yards to go. The crowd was silent as Ben dropped back, looking for his target. He spotted a one-on-one coverage to his left and gave the ball a ride through the cool Dallas air. Wallace and Williams, each measuring six feet, jumped simultaneously, both aiming for a spot in history. As the ball reached to the all-stars, America waited for what seemed like minutes to see who would win the battle within the war. When the ball fell to the ground, Steelers’ fans were devastated while Packer fans were ecstatic. All that was left now was for Aaron Rodgers to take two knees and bring the Lombardi trophy back to Green Bay.

Both teams fought hard, exchanging blows throughout the Super Bowl, but the beauty of sport is that there can only be one champion and this year the champions of the NFL are the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are only the second team to win the Super Bowl after being the sixth seed. Ironically the first team to accomplish this task was the 2005-2006 Pittsburgh Steelers.